While it seems impossible today, I remember a world without Pokémon in it. Sean and I are both products of the 1980s and grew up in the ’90s. Our world existed before Ash Ketchum, his friendly little electric mouse, and the cards that have captivated people for over two decades.
On January 9th, 1999, Pokémon was officially released in the United States after being in Japan for nearly 3 years. Kids and adults alike flocked to the stores to get their hands on booster packs featuring Pocket Monsters called Venusaur, Blastoise, and Charizard. A new group of people was born that day, a generation called the “Genwunners.”
Sean bought booster packs from a local card store in Maryland with his own money. He collected, traded and played the game. Today he can say he had two full Base set collections, plus multiple extras. He had two beloved Charizard cards, one being the highly coveted 1st Edition Shadowless. The other was the 4/102 Unlimited Holo. His shadowless lived in a binder, where it was kept safe from people and the elements, along with the rest of a full Base set of cards. The other Charizard went to school with him and was active in his gameplay. Sean adored his Pokémon cards and was very proud of the collection he’d built himself.
The Lost of a Collection
Pokémon is my world. It is all I do, day and night, from buying and selling, helping people find cards, educating, and researching. Through this, I’ve talked with many people from my generation that tell me stories of their childhood. I’ve come across a common theme – their cards were taken from them in some way. Many of these stories involve parents taking cards from their kids for various reasons. No matter the medium in which we’re talking, I can feel their pain as they tell me about their beloved collection and how they wish they still had it.
This happened to Sean when he was 13 years old. He tells this story today without animosity because we’ve worked hard to fix this, but his pain is still there. His father decided that it was time for Sean to “be a man” and Pokémon was for kids. Sean watched as his dad took (what he thought) was all his Pokémon cards and threw them away. At that young age, Sean was very wise to the world and the ways of his dad and had a binder hidden that wasn’t found. It did survive this traumatizing event and is an excellent source of pride today.
We’ve both been collecting since we were kids, and we brought our stuff along when we met. When he first told me this story, I said, “I’ll fix it. I will build you a card collection that you won’t believe,” which I’ve done. I mostly fixed the childhood pain Sean had, but I can never replace what was taken from him. Many people are in this same boat – they’re recollecting what they had, the original Wizards of the Coast cards, but they all say the same thing. It just isn’t the same, no matter how many cards they recollect.
The Next Generation of Collectors
And now, well, the Genwunners are parents of Gentwoers or Gen Two Pokémon collectors. Our friends have little Pokémon Trainers of their own, the next generation in the Pokémon world. Sean and I have Aiden, our 6-year-old nephew, who will inherit the Norton Poke Castle one day. Aiden has a Charizard card that he loves and will tell you that his Charizard is the most ultra-rare Pokémon out there and can beat anything. Well, who am I to argue with a mini Pokémon Master?
He got his Charizard from his uncle Sean and protects it with all the strength in his 6-year-old body. Aiden has quite a collection already, as he is free to choose any card he wants from our multiples, regardless of what it is. He has a Charizard tin for cards he plays with and a binder for his collection.
Selling to Inspire Gen Two
Selling cards has opened me to a part of this world that I wasn’t entirely part of before. I talk with my buyers about more than just what they buy. We talk about life, mainly our families. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say and love getting to know them. Many of these people are buying cards for their kids. They’re starting binders, collecting certain Pokémon, and giving their kids what they had, or didn’t have, growing up.
While each of these parents is looking for something different, they’re all the same. They want their gen two Pokémon collectors to know the magic that comes with being in the Pokémon world. These Parents want to share in their hobby, collect and play together, and see where this world will take them as they raise the next Pokémon Masters. They surprise mail their kids through sellers like me. I have constant requests for Pikachu cards, Eeveelutions, things that are girly and sparkle, and Pokémon that look cool.
How do you, as a parent, guardian, or as an aunt, uncle, or family friend, keep the Pokémon magic alive with little ones that may have the attention span of a sleepy Rowlett? And can you spread it through their lives? How do you make sure the fun of Pokémon never ends for them?
Why do you Love Pokemon?
Remember what it was that first caught your eye with Pokémon (if you’re old enough).
If you were too young to remember, what catches your eye today? Maybe it’s the artwork on the card, the cool looking Pocket Monsters, showing off at school or online with your friends, or the happiness you get from playing and collecting. Your kids can have that same feeling. Pokémon caught you and will catch them too for many of the same reasons. Find out what those reasons are and expand on it.
Indulge Your Kids
A lot of adults frown on this today, but I am not one of them. Indulge your gen two Pokémon collectors. Kids have one job in life, and that is to be a kid for as long as they can. We all grew up too fast, didn’t we? We don’t like adulting and miss the freedom of childhood. Don’t take that away from them.
The world my parents gave me was beautiful, and I had everything I could ever dream of. They never took things from me because I was too old, or they didn’t like it. They let me grow into myself, however, I chose, they always support me and what I love. While that included a lot of nonfiction books and documentaries on TV, it also included kid stuff like Disney, My Little Pony, Barbie, Beanie Babies, Littlest Pet Shop, every game system you can imagine… and Pokémon.
Today, my parents, Joey and Teri, still indulge me in whatever it is I love. They are 100% supportive of the Pokémon world Sean and I live in because it truly makes us happy. They’ve gone out of their way to learn about Pokémon and even collect their own. My dad collects Vulpix and Ninetales, and my mom collects Ponyta and Rapidash.
Don’t Destroy the Things They Love to Prove a Point
When you indulge your kids in Pokémon, you’re also indulging them in memories that they’ll carry forever. I look back on my life and smile at the memories I have with my parents because of these things. We created this joy together and still do. I have no memories of them ripping away something I love, never to be seen again. How many of you do have those memories, though? You look back and see it happen again, and the pain is still there. You may say, “they were doing what they thought was best,” and yes, of course, they were. But you, my Pokémon friend, still have that pain, and you’re trying to fix your collection today. You don’t want your kids to go through this same thing, do you?
Kids need discipline, we all know that. They’re wily little creatures with strong personalities. By the time they can talk, they know everything. So, we do our best to teach them (although it’s usually them teaching us). Many of my friends had their Pokémon collections thrown out as a punishment for something they said or did. The penalty needs to fit the crime, you guys. And think of it like this: you paid for that stuff, right? So, in the end, you’re just throwing away your money.
Even if your kids are at an age that they get an allowance, that came from you, so you’re still just throwing away your money. And, you aren’t helping them or teaching them anything. Ask yourself or someone you know about this. To this day, they’re still bitter about it, aren’t they? Having something they loved thrown away by a parent or guardian. The stories are all the same, and not one person will say, “thank Arceus they did that, it really taught me!” No, you can see or read the pain as they tell you the story. Nothing has changed, the Gentwoers will feel the same thing.
How to Punish with Pokémon Without Killing Passion
What do you do if you need to use Pokémon as a punishment? Take it away, hide it, put it on a shelf they can’t see or reach, put it in your desk at work, send it to grandma. You have so many options at your disposal, and none of them include destroying something your kids love. Give them a timeline, when they’ll get it back if they behave or do something, and then honor your side. Give it back. You will catch more Pikachu with Ketchup than an Oran Berry, right?
Budget-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Pokémon With Gen Two
How else can you incorporate your love of Pokémon and your kid’s love of Pokémon? Here are some ideas to carry you through. Note: these are budget-friendly, as not all of us grew up like James in the anime.
1.) Pay attention to which Pokémon catches your kids’ attention. Many kids love Pikachu. Collect Pikachu cards and merchandise with them. You don’t need to break the bank for this as Pikachu is everywhere. Sellers like myself sell many cards for $0.25, Pikachu included.
2.) Learn to draw Pokémon together. There are a ton of tutorials online that you can watch or download for free. There are books if that’s your thing, that you can buy at stores like Walmart or download for free through Amazon. Search “how to draw Pokémon” on Amazon, change the filter to price low to high, and download to your heart’s content.
3.) Pokémon GO. Aiden has his own account on my dad’s phone, and we play together. I make sure he has enough Pokeballs, and he catches all the super ultra-rare Rattata and Pidgey that he can find.
4.) The Pokémon anime has been running since the dawn of time, it seems, and it isn’t going anywhere despite the rumors that flow each year. Ash is off to a new adventure, the Galar Region. Watch this with your kids and enjoy all the Pokémon you’ll meet. You will understand it in a way they won’t as there are a lot of tough situations in Pokémon, but they’ll love to see it all.
5.) Share your favorite Pokémon with them. One of my favorites is Litten, as you may have seen in my Adventures of Litten Collection on Gemr. I take that little McDonald’s toy everywhere with me and photograph her doing all kinds of things. While that one is mine, I happen to have three others around my house. Aiden loves cats, and the last time he was sick, I gave him one of my spare Littens. He loves it, and now Litten is one of his favorites. We collect her together now.
6.) Tell them about your Pokémon adventures as a young trainer. Your collecting and playing and then try to recreate those memories with them.
7.) Pokémon has come out with books for kids of all ages. You can get them in lots online, in thrift stores, and in antique stores. Check out local flea markets as well, many toy sellers have them. I usually get them for $0.25-$1.00 each if they’re the kid’s books. Some have stories not seen anywhere else.
8.) Teach them the proper way to handle cards. Please stop putting your paws and nails all over holos. You break my heart every time I see you do that. Holos are fragile (look at the Diamond and Pearl era, if you just glanced at them, they scratched). It is never too early to start educating them about the right way to care for a collection.
9.) Play the game. If you don’t know-how, the Pokémon TCGO (Pokémon Trading Card Game Online) has a tutorial. There are tutorials all over the place, just Google how to play. If they’re too young to understand, you can make it up as you go. After all, Aiden’s Charizard beats everything, and like I said before, who am I to argue with a Pokémon Master?
10.) Get a figure of their favorite Pokémon and hide it outside. Then, take them out for something unrelated and randomly find it. They’ll love finding a Pokémon in the wild.
11.) I have a 4-foot black Pokémon tree. It is a Christmas tree with white lights that is covered in Pokémon ornaments. It stays up all year long. The tree was $3 at a local thrift store, and my mom got the decorations for me on Amazon. Get your kid a little tree, like the fun lighted ones that are colored. Order a little set of ornaments and use it in their room as a decoration.
12.) Matching t-shirts. Aiden and I have a lot of matching Pokémon clothes, and he loves wearing the same thing that I am.
Just Make Pokémon as Much Fun for Them as it was for You
Run with this however you like. Keep the Pokémon magic alive for your kids, the next generation, the Gentwoers. Create memories with them, but happy ones. Because the Pokémon world is so big, it is impossible to catch them all, so this can be a lifetime task for you to share together.
How do you share Pokémon with your kids? Tell us, we’d love to chat with you about it!
Gemr is the #1 free app and website for collectors. It’s the best place on the internet to meet fellow fans, show off your collection, talk all things geeky, and buy and sell cool stuff with people who love the same things you do. If you’re looking for the only place on your phone (or the internet) built just for collectors — this is it!